Layton donations through NDP appear to breach elections law

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED ON THE OTTAWA CITIZEN SITE.

The NDP’s decision to channel donations to a left-wing think-tank in honour of Jack Layton through the party may run afoul of election finance rules.

The party insists it has done nothing wrong by accepting donations to the Broadbent Institute through its website and offering tax credits in return. Layton’s principal secretary Brad Lavigne said lawyers vetted the arrangement.

He says every penny donated to the party in Layton’s memory will go to the institute once it is incorporated.

Donations made through the “in memory” page of the NDP website actually go the party and therefore qualify for the tax credit.

But the Elections Act seems to expressly prohibit this kind of thing. The relevant section of the Act, provided by the agency today:

Prohibition – soliciting or accepting contribution
405.21 (1) No person or entity shall solicit or accept a contribution on behalf of a registered party, registered association or candidate if the person or entity made a representation to the contributor or potential contributor that part or all of the contribution would be transferred to a person or entity, other than the registered party or a candidate, leadership contestant or electoral district association.
Prohibition – collusion
(2) No person or entity shall collude with a person or entity for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition in subsection (1)

Were Elections Canada to receive a complaint about his process, it would be referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections (William Corbett of in-and-out fame, for it is he!) to investigate.

Of course, the agency won’t say whether Corbett is investigating or if they’ve received a complaint yet. If they haven’t, I’d guess there will be one within the hour of this blog post going up.

10 thoughts on “Layton donations through NDP appear to breach elections law

  1. It would appear as though you are fishing for controversy. Drop tasteful from your snaps and then you may be on the right track.

    • Geeze Fred, could it be you are riled at your percieved affront to Saint Jack? After all, how could a left wing party be in contrevention of the law? Quelle affront!

  2. Nonsense. People who are donating money in honour of Jack Layton are donating to his party, and receiving a tax receipt in return, perfectly legal. The party can then donate that money to whatever entity it wishes without contravening any law. The party is not “soliciting” on behalf of anything; this wasn’t their idea. Since the Broadbent Institute isn’t up and running yet, this was the only way to follow Jack’s wishes.

    You on the other hand are clearly soliciting attention by denigrating a dying man’s wishes, just so you can get a link to your blog on National Newswatch. Shame.

    • So if it is a dying man’s wish to violate federal law, the law should take the back seat? Or only if it is Saint Jack’s wish?

  3. Fishing, how was Glen fishing?

    It was the NDP that sent out that tacky donation letter shortly after Layton died. After I read the letter, I was extremely disappointed that the Party wanted to capitalize on Layton’s death — for a partisan foundation that doesn’t even exist.

  4. I would have thought that donations should be made to the Cancer Society to help research into Jack’s ‘new’ secret cancer that killed him. Wonder if they will ever divulge the name of the ‘new’ secret cancer, or are they hoping to bury it with Jack, because it’s too embarrassing to reveal maybe?!

  5. You have done a brave thing Mr. McGregor. You may get some angry comments and emails, but I’m sure that Jack would be happy knowing that his memorial fund will now be collected in accordance with Canadian law. Even though the NDP may have honestly believed this was legitimate, it is far better to have recognized the problem and dealt with it now rather than to have it tarnish Jack’s legacy the next time Elections Canada has to audit the Party’s financial returns. Bravo!

  6. Brad Lavigne lied when he said the lawyers had vetted the process. No responsible lawyer would have missed this prohibition in the Election Law.

    The fact is the NDP tried to slip one through by thinking that they could take advantage of the death of their leader and help the Broadbent Institute which is still a figment of Ed Broadbent’s imagination. It is sleazy and the NDP/Brad Lavigne should be held accountable for trying to take advantage of the death of their leader, lying to the public and violating Canada’s election law.

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